KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — With just four months to go before the northeast monsoon hits Malaysia’s east coast, DAP and several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are in a race against time to raise the RM2.5 million needed to rebuild homes for villagers in Kuala Krai who were badly hit by last year’s floods.
In the first phase of their campaign, dubbed the Gabungan Impian Kelantan, the participating parties hope to build 40 new homes for the village of Guchil whose occupants were displaced last year when muddy waters hit the state.
Collectively, the two-phase project will cost about RM3.2 million. During a fundraising dinner tonight at SRJK (C) Chung Kwo here, campaigners collected an impressive RM650,000.
According to DAP’s Teresa Kok, it could take anywhere between six months to a year to raise the remaining RM2.55 million needed to build the homes.
But time is not something the Kuala Krai victims have, especially with the monsoon season around the corner in November.
“These people living at the roadside in tents could all be wiped out again and you will go up and help them again,” she said in her speech at the banquet hall.
Last month, the government revealed in Parliament that it has only built 33 houses in Kelantan.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had pledged to build 1,834 houses when he visited the PAS-led state during the floods.
PAS’s Kuala Krai MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli told the crowd that he felt very lucky for the attention his constituency has received in the aftermath of the flood crisis.
“Kuala Krai is just an area in a rural area and we were doing the worst in Malaysia from development and this was before the floods, Kuala Krai was already been noted by a study by the government of Malaysia based on a long running data, Kuala Krai is the least developed district in the whole country.
“Surely we are very sad about that, we are very embarrassed but that is the reality and then came the flood and whatever they have, almost totally demolished by the floods,” he said.
He added that almost 2000 people had lost their homes, although he noted that only one, and not more lives were lost.
Mohd Hatta also expressed gratitude to DAP leaders such as Kok, adviser Lim Kit Siang and Anthony Loke who have visited Kuala Krai multiple times after the floods
“The 40 houses mean a lot to my people. I hope the efforts made by Teresa and the gang will be successful and us in Kelantan, we feel very thankful and grateful and we hope Allah will give us good results so that as humans, we would live together in peace,” he said.
Former Bersih 2.0 co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and DAP’s new member and national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said also offered their support tonight and addressed the crowd.
The houses for Gabungan Impian Kelantan each cost an estimated RM50,000 and will be built on five acres of land in Kampung Sungai Mas in Kuala Krai, Kelantan.
In the new village, Gabungan Impian Kelantan will also be building facilities fit for an entire community like a public hall, playground and even an aquaponics pond to farm fish and cultivate water plants.
The Impian Kelantan initiative comes amid criticisms levelled against Putrajaya and the Kelantan state government for moving too slowly in the rebuilding of homes, with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim telling Parliament on Tuesday that only 33 homes have been built for the 1,900 flood victims so far.
Previously, Putrajaya had said that of the 261 units of new permanent houses to be built by the federal government for flood victims in Kelantan, 168 will be handed over before Aidilfitri, in late August.
The 261 units are part of the first phase of 1,255 housing units to be built by the federal government for flood victims in Kelantan.
The remaining houses will be built by the Kelantan government.